The Nigerian Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwumi Adesina, yesterday indicated the determination of the federal government to revive the groundnut pyramid in the northern parts country.
Making this known during an interview with journalists at the Pierre Hotel in New York, Dr Adesina said that there was need for the Goodluck Jonathan-led administration to revive the groundnut pyramid in order to further boost the economy of the country.
According to the minister, the government wants to rebuild the groundnut pyramids in order to reclaim the country’s former prime position as the largest groundnut producing country in the African continent.
Saying that he had met with the Emir of Kano over this ongoing plan, Adesina disclosed that the plan to rebuild the groundnut pyramids includes establishing groundnut value chain with the objective to increase production, processing and marketing of groundnut along the value chain in the country and beyond.
“We have entered into partnership with the World Leading Center in India and they are going to help the northern parts of the country to develop groundnuts that are resistant to roset disease. With the arrangements on ground now, we shall raise the production of groundnut in the next three years” he said.
Speaking further, the minister said that agriculture had become a lucrative business in Nigeria, stressing that the future of the country should not be put on the oil and gas sector, but also in the agriculture sector so that the transformation that President Goodluck Jonathan has been unveiling in the sector could bring fruitful results.
Adesina said: “The future of Nigeria is not in oil and gas alone but also in agriculture. Mr President is providing remarkable level of commitment in the area of agriculture and so far, it has been very fantastic. We are supporting a lot of farmers. At the moment, we have reached 3.5 million farmers in Nigeria.”
The minister continued that in order to support the Transformation Agenda of the federal government, the Federal Ministry of Agriculture has started a paradigm shift in the agricultural sector which are focusing on agriculture as a business instead of a developmental project.
He also added that the paradigm shift in the agriculture sector would also be utilising the transformation of the agricultural sector to create jobs, create wealth, ensure food security, and as well focus on value chains where Nigeria has comparative advantage Sharp focus on youths and women.
Speaking further, Hon. Adesina notede that the challenge in Africa was that African farmers had been neglected for decades by the various governments in their countries, adding that the farmers were poorly organized, a challenge he said had made them to lack the voice and power to push for farmer-friendly policies.
“Indeed, the cost of neglect of our farmers is all around us.
Look around the rural areas, what you find are high levels of poverty, mud houses, malnourished children and neglected rural communities. Politicians take farmers for granted.
They reach out to them only during elections where they make promises to support farmers, but as soon as they get elected they set up offices in the cities and forget all about the farmers in rural areas.
“But now, we are supporting farmers but as we support them, we must recognize that the majority of our farmers are women.
Without women farmers, Africa cannot unlock its agricultural potential. Empowering women farmers will change the nutritional status of children in rural households, as women spend a greater share of their incomes on household nutrition”
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